Sudan: Stench of dead bodies at school which was 'destroyed by military forces'

12 June 2019, 21:07 | Updated: 13 June 2019, 07:52

Something very worrying has happened at the Technical School in Khartoum.

The facility, located in the centre of the Sudanese capital, was occupied by pro-democracy protesters for seven weeks.

They turned the school and surrounding buildings into an art centre and library where people campaigning for a civilian government could mingle and create and we were told that it was a popular place to be.

"The kids with drums and the artists and the graphics people hung out there," said one activist. "It was like a centre of counter-culture in a city that is pretty conservative."

When the authorities moved on the protest area early on 3 June, they clearly had their eye on the school.

Revolutionary-themed graffiti still adorns the exterior but an employee at the building told us today that the interior had been completely destroyed.

Members of a notorious militia called the Rapid Support Force are responsible for much of the violence here and activists and civil rights groups fear the country's military rulers will try to cover up what they have done.

Two things made our team suspicious.

First, we detected the cloying smell of dead bodies in the vicinity of the building.

Secondly, a woman who introduced herself as a psychologist, said her office at the back of the school complex had been destroyed by the military. She asked us to accompany her but a group of soldiers refused us entry into the school. One threatened to strike us with a raised baton.

Unsurprisingly, civilian groups and the military are unable to agree on the death toll.

The ruling Transitional Military Council has confirmed the deaths of 61 people. However, the Committee of Sudanese Doctors says at least 118 people were killed by military forces with an additional 18 still unaccounted for.

Officials at the United Nations are seriously concerned.

On Wednesday, experts appointed by the UN's Human Rights Council said they feared the country was sliding into "a human rights abyss".

They have called for an independent investigation into violations against peaceful protesters in Sudan.